Ammonia level dropped slightly, no nitrites, but nitrates?? Help!!

Melmel13233

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Hi!! So I started my tank on the 9th, did all of the steps, rinsed everything before it went in, and filled my 20 gallon tank. I opted for the no fish cycle

I added 4ppm of ammonia and did the test about an hour later, it registered positive at 4 ppm. It’s now been almost exactly two weeks and my ammonia level is at 2ppm, I have no nitrites, and 5ppm of nitrates.
There’s been a random bit of foggyness that goes away and then comes back.

I’m using a 20 gallon tank
Gravel as substrate
API Freshwater test kit
No live plants

Any help would be SUPER appreciated!! I’m a total newbie but I pride myself on doing ample research in anything I do and I have no clue what went wrong!!
 

Nickguy5467

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you could try a huge water change put 1ppm of ammonia in there and if within a 24 hour period that 1ppm of ammonia you put in is 0ppm tommorow along with 0 nitrites and the ammonia successfuly became nitrates. you should be good,

edit: just realized i read those numbers wrong. just wait until that ammonia is gone first. then when its 0 you can do the day thing and go for the 24 hour change and hopefully you get 0 ammonia 0 nitrites and whatever number nitrates
 
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Melmel13233

Melmel13233

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Nickguy5467 said:
you could try a huge water change put 1ppm of ammonia in there and if within a 24 hour period that 1ppm of ammonia you put in is 0ppm tommorow along with 0 nitrites and the ammonia successfuly became nitrates. you should be good,

edit: just realized i read those numbers wrong. just wait until that ammonia is gone first. then when its 0 you can do the day thing and go for the 24 hour change and hopefully you get 0 ammonia 0 nitrites and whatever number nitrates

So wait until the ammonia reaches 0 ppm? How long do you think that will take? Also is there any explanation for why my tank just skipped nitrites?
 

Nickguy5467

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Melmel13233 said:
So wait until the ammonia reaches 0 ppm? How long do you think that will take?
i actually have no idea ive only done it once. im also currently cycling myself in a new tank. i mean you could do a water change and get all the ammonia out and then add some ammonia like 1ppm and if it transfers to nitrates between then and the same time tomorrow along with 0 nitrites, you should be cycled.. im currently playing the waiting game myself. and by far still learning but i do know that if you can get rid of 1ppm within 24 hours into nitrates you are cycled, i might have left something out someone told me . ill update if i find it
 

Nickguy5467

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heres the post about cycling i was talking about in one of my threads about plants and cycling

"
Nickguy5467 said:
i read somewhere that if you can convert 1ppm of ammonia into 0 ammonia in within 24 hours you are cycled. im currently doing a cycle myself and hoping that holds true
(some other guy said this part, forgot his name)
This is true but doesn't tell the whole story. If someone wants to heavily stock their tank once the cycle is complete it is better to grow more bacteria than they think they may need. The more ammonia the tank processes the more bacteria there will be and the heavier they can stock the tank all at once.

Cole23 It looks like you are very close to cycled. Seeing the nitrites drop to zero tells us you are close. If it were me I would do a water change to get the nitrates down well below 20. Once done go ahead and dose your ammonia back up to 4ppm. If the cycle has been processing 4ppm but takes longer than 24 hours to do it the water change may speed it up. If it continues to take longer than 24 hours to go back to zero you may need to add extra media to your filter. The more media, the more area for bacteria to colonize on.

The water change isn't going to hurt the cycling process as long as you temp match and dechlorinate the water you are replacing."

so i guess you could wait until it eats that 2ppm ammonia for more beneficial bacteria or do the 1ppm method

edit: also the nitrates could be coming directly from your water? you never know, but the 2ppm disappearing is promising. strange the nitrites didnt stick around in the first round...
 
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Melmel13233

Melmel13233

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Nickguy5467 said:
heres the post about cycling i was talking about in one of my threads about plants and cycling

"
(some other guy said this part, forgot his name)
This is true but doesn't tell the whole story. If someone wants to heavily stock their tank once the cycle is complete it is better to grow more bacteria than they think they may need. The more ammonia the tank processes the more bacteria there will be and the heavier they can stock the tank all at once.

Cole23 It looks like you are very close to cycled. Seeing the nitrites drop to zero tells us you are close. If it were me I would do a water change to get the nitrates down well below 20. Once done go ahead and dose your ammonia back up to 4ppm. If the cycle has been processing 4ppm but takes longer than 24 hours to do it the water change may speed it up. If it continues to take longer than 24 hours to go back to zero you may need to add extra media to your filter. The more media, the more area for bacteria to colonize on.

The water change isn't going to hurt the cycling process as long as you temp match and dechlorinate the water you are replacing."

so i guess you could wait until it eats that 2ppm ammonia for more beneficial bacteria or do the 1ppm method

edit: also the nitrates could be coming directly from your water? you never know, but the 2ppm disappearing is promising. strange the nitrites didnt stick around in the first round...
That helped a ton thank you so much!! I feel like if I waited this long, I can wait a little longer haha. So I’ll try to wait until it reaches 0 and do the 1ppm. Thank you for your help I feel a lot less frantic now :)
Good luck with cycling your tank as well!!
 

Flyfisha

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To put your mind at rest Melmel13233
The bacteria that poop nitrates only eat nitrites.
Its not possible to have nitrates rising in a tank without them eating nitrites.
Its not uncommon to not see any nitrites in a tank that’s cycling. You should not see nitrites ever again now you have nitrates.

To try and answer why the tank skipped the nitrites. Well it’s possible the nitrites were not high enough to register. Or the nitrates pooping bacteria just grew faster. You have nothing to worry about.
 
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Melmel13233

Melmel13233

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Flyfisha said:
To put your mind at rest Melmel13233
The bacteria that poop nitrates only eat nitrites.
Its not possible to have nitrates rising in a tank without them eating nitrites.
Its not uncommon to not see any nitrites in a tank that’s cycling. You should not see nitrites ever again now you have nitrates.

To try and answer why the tank skipped the nitrites. Well it’s possible the nitrites were not high enough to register. Or the nitrates pooping bacteria just grew faster. You have nothing to worry about.
Awesome!! Thank ya!
 

Chalupacabra

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A670BFE8-BDBC-4DD6-9B24-39BCC8DF2682.jpeg

Having Ammonia, Nitrates, and no Nitrites means your cycle is working!

Now you just need to speed it up!

The advice in here so far has been excellent. Keep testing until you’re at 0ppm Ammonia, 0ppm Nitrites, and however many ppm of Nitrates. Then do a water change, and add 1ppm of Ammonia and lather-rinse-repeat until that 1ppm is converted in 24 hours.

Then you get to decide how much bacteria you want to cultivate before adding fish and other livestock. You can up to 2 ppm, 3ppm, 4ppm, etc. The more your bacteria can convert in 24 hours, the more fish you can add when you start.

In the meantime, plant that tank up! Your fish will love you for it and that way you can work on getting things with your plants right before you get fish in the mix.

Of course, adding plants sometimes means accidentally adding livestock...
 
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Melmel13233

Melmel13233

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Chalupacabra said:
A670BFE8-BDBC-4DD6-9B24-39BCC8DF2682.jpeg

Having Ammonia, Nitrates, and no Nitrites means your cycle is working!

Now you just need to speed it up!

The advice in here so far has been excellent. Keep testing until you’re at 0ppm Ammonia, 0ppm Nitrites, and however many ppm of Nitrates. Then do a water change, and add 1ppm of Ammonia and lather-rinse-repeat until that 1ppm is converted in 24 hours.

Then you get to decide how much bacteria you want to cultivate before adding fish and other livestock. You can up to 2 ppm, 3ppm, 4ppm, etc. The more your bacteria can convert in 24 hours, the more fish you can add when you start.

In the meantime, plant that tank up! Your fish will love you for it and that way you can work on getting things with your plants right before you get fish in the mix.

Of course, adding plants sometimes means accidentally adding livestock...
Yayyyy!! And I’m thinking about adding some live plants I’m cycling this tank for some fancy goldfish. I’m sooooo excited and antsy to get them haha.
 

Nickguy5467

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Chalupacabra said:
A670BFE8-BDBC-4DD6-9B24-39BCC8DF2682.jpeg

Having Ammonia, Nitrates, and no Nitrites means your cycle is working!

Now you just need to speed it up!

The advice in here so far has been excellent. Keep testing until you’re at 0ppm Ammonia, 0ppm Nitrites, and however many ppm of Nitrates. Then do a water change, and add 1ppm of Ammonia and lather-rinse-repeat until that 1ppm is converted in 24 hours.

Then you get to decide how much bacteria you want to cultivate before adding fish and other livestock. You can up to 2 ppm, 3ppm, 4ppm, etc. The more your bacteria can convert in 24 hours, the more fish you can add when you start.

In the meantime, plant that tank up! Your fish will love you for it and that way you can work on getting things with your plants right before you get fish in the mix.

Of course, adding plants sometimes means accidentally adding livestock...
lol best good news meme ever, i even read it in his voice

edit: good luck on your fishy quest Mel
 

Chalupacabra

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Melmel13233 said:
Yayyyy!! And I’m thinking about adding some live plants I’m cycling this tank for some fancy goldfish. I’m sooooo excited and antsy to get them haha.
Goldfish are known for eating plants to death. The usual low tech go-to plants, like Marimo Moss Balls, for Goldfish are no good as they will voraciously consume them.

Do some research and find a good fit! I’m not sure if it works with goldfish, but one of my favorite starter plants in a tank is Dwarf Water Lilies as they require almost no maintenance, grow to be quite impressive, and really add character to a tank.

If nothing else, there’s always Duckweed. No matter how much they eat, that stuff is nigh unkillable.
 
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Melmel13233

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Chalupacabra said:
Goldfish are known for eating plants to death. The usual low tech go-to plants, like Marimo Moss Balls, for Goldfish are no good as they will voraciously consume them.

Do some research and find a good fit! I’m not sure if it works with goldfish, but one of my favorite starter plants in a tank is Dwarf Water Lilies as they require almost no maintenance, grow to be quite impressive, and really add character to a tank.

If nothing else, there’s always Duckweed. No matter how much they eat, that stuff is nigh unkillable.
I’ll look into it, thanks!! I had heard something about them eating plants which is why I was weary when decorating the tank, I went with some silk fake ones, but in the future I’d love to have some natural greenery!
 

mattgirl

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Have you run the nitrate test on your source water? It normally takes about 6 weeks to cycle a tank. If you started this one June 9th then you are still very early in the cycle.
 

mattgirl

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Someone mentioned that it isn't unusual to not see nitrites. The only time I have seen that happen is when one brand of bottled bacteria had been used. If you've not added bottled bacteria you should eventually see nitrites. It normally take 3 weeks or so for the nitrites to show up.
 

Flyfisha

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mattgirl
wrote and I quote.
“Have you run the nitrate test on your source water? “ etc

This is extremely important Melmel13233 . It’s possible you have nitrates in your tap water. That would change things a lot.

Thank you mattgirl I should have asked that question.
 

Chalupacabra

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Melmel13233 said:
I’ll look into it, thanks!! I had heard something about them eating plants which is why I was weary when decorating the tank, I went with some silk fake ones, but in the future I’d love to have some natural greenery!
and are decent starting points on plants that go well with goldfish.
Flyfisha said:
mattgirl
wrote and I quote.
“Have you run the nitrate test on your source water? “ etc

This is extremely important Melmel13233 . It’s possible you have nitrates in your tap water. That would change things a lot.

Thank you mattgirl I should have asked that question.
Testing your water out of the tap for nitrates is a good idea. It’s always good to have as much information as possible. That said, depending on any bacteria starter you may have used, etc., it’s not impossible that you could be at the point of going from ammonia to nitrate already.
 
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Melmel13233

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mattgirl said:
Have you run the nitrate test on your source water? It normally takes about 6 weeks to cycle a tank. If you started this one June 9th then you are still very early in the cycle.
As soon as I set up my tank I tested for everything in my master kit, and there were no nitrates present in my source water at all. after reading your reply I’ve just now tested again and it still registers 0ppm. I opted not to use bottled bacteria or any quick start product.

I feel like I should also add that my tank PH shot up to 8 and my initial test registered my source water at 7.4 on the high range PH test, I have no idea if that means anything significant lol.

Chalupacabra said:
and are decent starting points on plants that go well with goldfish.

Testing your water out of the tap for nitrates is a good idea. It’s always good to have as much information as possible. That said, depending on any bacteria starter you may have used, etc., it’s not impossible that you could be at the point of going from ammonia to nitrate already.
Thank you for the resources!!
 

Utar

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Hi, I am going through the nitrogen cycle with my 55g tank. There is one major difference, I made my own aquasoil, capping this with sand then pea pebbles. I learned recently that potting soil, which I used, releases ammonia. I set the tank up on 6-9-20 waited a few days, then checked the ammonia it was 8+, very dark, dark green. So I started doing daily water changes to control the ammonia.

I seeded my canister filter with bio-media from my established tank. I got nitrates, before I saw nitrites. I have attached a copy of my excel spreadsheet which shows the history of the my 55g tank since I set it up.

55 Gal Nitrogen Cycle.jpg
 

mattgirl

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Melmel13233 said:
As soon as I set up my tank I tested for everything in my master kit, and there were no nitrates present in my source water at all. after reading your reply I’ve just now tested again and it still registers 0ppm. I opted not to use bottled bacteria or any quick start product.

I feel like I should also add that my tank PH shot up to 8 and my initial test registered my source water at 7.4 on the high range PH test, I have no idea if that means anything significant lol.
Strange that you pH shot up. What I would do is put some tap water in a container. Run your pH test on the water as soon as you put it in the container and again 24 hours later. Lots of times the pH in our source water will change. This test will tell you if there is something in the tank causing the rise or if it just the chemistry of your water causing it. If you are actually seeing a pH of 7.4 you don't need to be using the high range test. the low range is the one you should be using. If the pH pegs out the low range then you go to the high range.

If you have no nitrates in your tap water and are seeing 5ppm in the tank we have to think something is happening. I can't think of a reason this tank would skip the nitrite spike. The only times I see it is when bottled bacteria has been added.

All I can recommend is give the cycle time to grow. Doing a fishless cycle takes a boat load of time and patience.
Nickguy5467 said:
heres the post about cycling i was talking about in one of my threads about plants and cycling"
(some other guy said this part, forgot his name)
This is true but doesn't tell the whole story. If someone wants to heavily stock their tank once the cycle is complete it is better to grow more bacteria than they think they may need. The more ammonia the tank processes the more bacteria there will be and the heavier they can stock the tank all at once.

Cole23 It looks like you are very close to cycled. Seeing the nitrites drop to zero tells us you are close. If it were me I would do a water change to get the nitrates down well below 20. Once done go ahead and dose your ammonia back up to 4ppm. If the cycle has been processing 4ppm but takes longer than 24 hours to do it the water change may speed it up. If it continues to take longer than 24 hours to go back to zero you may need to add extra media to your filter. The more media, the more area for bacteria to colonize on.

The water change isn't going to hurt the cycling process as long as you temp match and dechlorinate the water you are replacing.
I don't want to seem nit picky but if you are going to copy and paste one of my posts I would appreciate you giving credit where credit is due. BTW: I am not some guy. I am a very old lady :D
 

Nickguy5467

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mattgirl said:
Strange that you pH shot up. What I would do is put some tap water in a container. Run your pH test on the water as soon as you put it in the container and again 24 hours later. Lots of times the pH in our source water will change. This test will tell you if there is something in the tank causing the rise or if it just the chemistry of your water causing it. If you are actually seeing a pH of 7.4 you don't need to be using the high range test. the low range is the one you should be using. If the pH pegs out the low range then you go to the high range.

If you have no nitrates in your tap water and are seeing 5ppm in the tank we have to think something is happening. I can't think of a reason this tank would skip the nitrite spike. The only times I see it is when bottled bacteria has been added.

All I can recommend is give the cycle time to grow. Doing a fishless cycle takes a boat load of time and patience.

I don't want to seem nit picky but if you are going to copy and paste one of my posts I would appreciate you giving credit where credit is due. BTW: I am not some guy. I am a very old lady :D
sorry about that
 

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